What’s Popping? New boba and popcorn shop opens in the Village

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Cece Turk

Always Popping displays their colorful and flavorful popcorn in the front of their shop.

Cece Turk, Assistant Editor

The buttery smell of fresh popcorn. Little kids munching on free samples. Baristas whipping up complex bubble tea recipes. Colorful syrups lining the shelves. Carlsbad Village’s newest business offers two popular treats in a variety of flavors. With a goal to provide “something for everyone”, owner David Addy is finally beginning to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

Shortly after David Addy’s popcorn and boba shop, Popping Kettle, opened in the Shoppes at Carlsbad Mall, stores were shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions. Six months of closure and rent payments later, Addy and his team decided to scrap their efforts. But the entrepreneur still wanted to see his dream of this fusion cafe succeed.

“We never had a chance to really give the Carlsbad community the store that I envisioned,” Addy said. “So I called up my manager and said, ‘You know what, let’s give it another shot.’ And the race was on to look for another location.”

After finding an office space with cafe potential in the center of the Village Faire (conveniently located across the way from Addy’s other business, Back to Cali), they decided to rename the shop. When they found out that “Always Popping” was available for use, Addy saw his luck turning around.

“That was basically the green light that everything [was] going to be fine,” Addy said.

Once they rebranded and renovated the shop, they began the training process of their 10 new employees. Katherine Laponte was hired as a barista and trained for one month before their opening in early September. Her responsibilities include managing the register, making beverages and serving customers.

Barista Narnia Choi prepares a taro affogato drink.

“All of the employees are super sweet and really easy to get along with,” Laponte said. “It’s just an overall great atmosphere, and I’ve never had a job where they’re like that.”

After her previous jobs at a produce stand and gift shop, another new barista, Hannah Fredrickson, likes the freedom that comes with working for a new business. Employees at Always Popping have the opportunity to experiment with new flavors, ingredients and types of popcorn kernels. They have around 30 flavors of popcorn in circulation, ranging from classic kettle to piña colada, as well as a myriad of boba teas and toppings.

“When we put a drink down, sometimes people will take a picture immediately before they taste it,” Fredrickson said. “They’re happy with what they’re getting.”

Boba (or bubble) tea, the Taiwanese beverage invented in the 80s, may seem like an odd pairing with popcorn, but Addy disagrees.

“I didn’t want it to be just another coffee shop,” Addy said. “So that’s why we blended [popcorn and boba] together; they’re both colorful and they’re both yummy.”

Despite its rocky start, Always Popping has planted roots in the Village. From savory gourmet popcorn to sweet blended teas, this new business is ready to supply Carlsbad with memorable snacks every day of the week from 10 a.m to 9 p.m.

“I think it’s completely worth it,” Addy said, “We’re open and we’re serving the community.”